My goal for the night is to determine if the dancers have a goofy Season 8 Gang Sign. I don't pay a lot of attention to the part of the show where Cat tells people what numbers to dial, so for all I know they've been throwing something up this whole time. Hence the sidequest!
Before we get to that, I have to express outrage (OUTRAGE!) at the opening montage, which is supposed to celebrate the fact that we have our top ten dancers. There's a spot early on where the screen is divided into a 3X3 grid. Which means that there are only nine dancers shown. The missing dancer is Clarice, which seems pretty mean. Why would they do that?
Clarice seems okay in the opening dance, in which we're back to introducing the dancers individually rather than by partnerships. The only partnership I'm actually sad to lose is Melanie/Marko, which I'm just going to assume is how everyone else feels. Isn't it fun to be in agreement on something for once?
There's only one guest judge this week, but it's Neil Patrick Harris, which everybody seems pretty pleased about. When Nigel's introduced, he leads his own applause, which is pretty tacky. There's news about the tour, for which tickets will be on sale July 29. And it features "this year's top ten" without any mention of filling it out with dancers from other years. But surely they'll have to include some All-Stars if they want to have dances from the second half of the season. Neil shows off a "judging posture" which reveals just how flimsy those chairs are. Then he talks a good game about how pleased he is that this show has brought dance into the mainstream. I'm not 100% convinced that he watches the show yet. I'm not saying he definitely doesn't, but by this point I think Jesse Tyler Ferguson had already made a Kristin Chenoweth joke.
Enough banter. Marko has Chelsie Hightower and a Jason Gilkison samba. He's a photographer and she's a fame-hungry model. The rehearsal footage looks a lot like Lucha Libre. Here we go! Chelsie's about one-quarter dressed, which makes it a little hard to focus on Marko. And she's the one doing all the showy work. Marko takes his jacket off at one point for no reason I can tell. It's competently danced, I guess, but it didn't really highlight the contestant the way it should have.
Cat goes straight to Chelsie, who is delighted to be back. Although she's out of breath. Then she's dismissed and we go to the judges. Neil talks about how dirty the dance was and says that he thinks Marko is the guy to beat. Cat gives Neil a verbal pat on the head for his judging chops. Mary shrieks so loud that her jewelry starts to fall off. She says that his technical samba-stuff was excellent, which I guess is good to know. I think I heard the words "volta" and "whisk"? Nigel works his way around to saying that Marko isn't with Melanie anymore but he's "dancing with the stars." Good one?